The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Malaria

    5
  • Robbed

    13
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Beaten

    3
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Falls

    12
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Robbed

    5
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Groped

    2
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Burns

    4
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Giardia

    8
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Rope Burn

    10